Worship Wednesday! Woot woot!

Hey guys!

So, I've been thinking a lot about eternity lately, and what's politically correct to say about it.  I want to start with the Corinthians.  In fact, let's start with I Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 35, and read to verse 49; then I want to move to II Corinthians, chapter 5, starting with verse 1, through to verse 10.  Go ahead, go read those passages.  Don't worry, I'll wait here for you, just let me know when you're finished.

Weren't those amazing?  I find that in today's environment, it's a little unpopular to talk about the afterlife.  Who wants to hear that a terrible situation may not come to an end before you die?  That you just might have to live with it.  A lot of things I heard, well, they beg the question: is God a god of Good and Bad, or is he just Good?  We like to think that he's just a loving and good God, that we would spare us harm if he could.  How terrifying would that be?  I mean, would you rather a God who was just a god of good things, and had no power over bad things?  Would you have faith in a God like that?  Or would you rather recognize that even the things we see as bad are the tools of a loving God in the end?  I heard by an old pastor of mine that God was more interested in character than comfort.  So, if I get into a car accident and become paralyzed from the waist down, who's to blame for such a "bad" thing?  Satan?  Demons?  How about God?  Considering that God is making it so he has to live with me, and not just him, but a bunch of people he cares about, for the next thousand, million, billion, trillion years, wouldn't it be more important for me to be worth living with for all that time?  Isn't a happy nation of people for a quintillion years more important than a miserable man for thirty years?  Imagine if I never learned the lessons that accident ended up being responsible for teaching me, things like long-suffering, patience, compassion, and went on to eternity.  Don't you think that at some point in the next million years, my impatience and callousness would at the very least irritate someone?  That's not paradise.

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In my time, I've also heard people talk about quality of life.  Some people have told me that if they were ever paralyzed from the neck down or something, that they would rather die.  Knowing that my wife has the comparable flexibility of a quadriplegic, and seeing the vibrancy and the fullness with which she lives her life, I can't help but see the blaring ignorance of such statements.  Some people see it as reasonable to abort children, on the basis of knowing whether or not the child would live with certain DiversAbilities.  For certain people, it's physical DiversAbilities, similar to that example of quadriplegia I mentioned earlier: certain people can't imagine a valuable life with such limitations.  For others, it's mental DiversAbilities, because they think that if the child can't understand the fullness of their life, they won't be sorry to lose it.  And the answer to that is twofold: one, reminds me of a guy I grew up with in my home church; he was forty-something years old, and was severely autistic.  For most of his life, his family assumed he didn't understand anything about what's going on around him, like the death of a pet or a grandparent.  It wasn't for many years when he found a computer and typed out his own words that they realized that there was someone under that restricted and disabled shell.  The second aspect of that problem has to do with something I've witnessed while working in ministry that catered to people with DiversAbilities; people with mental disabilities inspire boundless love in others, meaning that people can express love for a person who doesn't seem to be mentally present without expectation of reciprocation or thanks.  Learning to love that way, most would agree, is a good thing.  So, by their existence, they teach those around them to love more fully.  From an eternal perspective, is that important?  Would we be grateful that we learned how to love selflessly thirty billion years from now?  Probably.  Is it worth the fifty to eighty years this person experienced severe limitations on this earth?  Probably.

All this being said, are we to deny the hope we look forward to, in the resurrected body? The whole point to the DiversAbilities project is to recognize the value of the person living with those DiversAbilities, and perhaps even acknowledge the source of strength those DiversAbilities can sometimes provide us.  But is it so wrong to recognize that once our bodies are resurrected, they will be made new and be made whole?  As much as we use these DiversAbilities as badges of honor, we have to acknowledge that they are a result of living in a world where sin has entered and brought death with it, including all the little defects that that entails.  We should also celebrate, look forward to, and hope for, a world where sin is erased, death is erased, and all the terrible things that those things bring with them are erased, including any DiversAbilities.  There is nothing wrong with my wife looking forward to an afterlife where she'll be able to walk, hand in hand, with Jesus.  It does not diminish how great a person she is, it does not cheapen the things of value living her life has brought her.  If anything, it celebrates her ability to live out the lessons she's learned here, and enjoy the freedom of full ability she'll have access to there. 

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  1. Growing up as the one who stutters was not simple. There was mockery from outside of church. There was mockery and people who would be quick to pray for me from within church. I risk facing discrimination from people when they hear me speak. And it grows worse when people confuse stuttering with not knowing how to speak (this is more noticeable in Spanish, a language where I don't have words to maneuver around in conversation.) Concerning stuttering, I feel it was worse within church. Rather than feeling like a person, I felt treated more like a prayer test subject in the faith that God would "loosen my tongue." But in the end, they only helped make me bitter.

    Being where I am for the past eleven years has been what has changed my way of thinking. Feeling treated as a person helped me open up, and be healed of my bad experiences. Both my experiences taught me to the character to be and the character not to be. Newer physical limitations also made me question our current state. In the end, I came to realize that we live in a sin ravaged world. Although I still believe in healing in every aspect, there are moments where our state is not our fault, nor will it immediately be healed. But in the end, I learned to love people better. I learned to see past what others feel is a hindrance. Does it bother me at times? I do not lie if I admit it does. But I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing! Your transparency is always so uplifting. I love that you just push through your stuttering and you do teach many people how to actively listen, a skill many lack. I think you have so many wonderful, and comical, things to say! Keep on talking my friend <3


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